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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 14, 2007 0 comments

Toshiba recently issued an update for its second-generation HD DVD players, primarily for the HD-A20 and the HD-XA2. I installed the update on an HD-A20, the middle model in Toshiba's HD DVD lineup (though shortly to be superceded in the launch of a third generation).

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 08, 2007 0 comments

It's been a couple of years since we last tested an InFocus projector. When Fred Manteghian reviewed the $7,000, 720p <A HREF="http://ultimateavmag.com/videoprojectors/905infocus/">ScreenPlay 7210</A> back in September 2005 there was a lot less competition in the front projector market, and InFocus was a major player. It's still a respected name, with a long history in business and home projectors. But the playing field has not only become a lot more crowded, the name of the game has changed to 1080p. Not just 1080p, but 1080p at what would have been seen as impossibly low prices two years ago.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 05, 2007 0 comments

While I have decidedly mixed feelings about big-box consumer electronics retailers getting into the TV calibration game (see the following story on Best Buy, and an earlier story that also touches on Circuit City's calibration promotion) the commercial pull of these giants is already having at least one unanticipated benefit.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 01, 2007 0 comments
Last year when I reviewed the 1080p Sony Bravia KDL-46XBR2 at our sister publication, it "really knocked me out." Now we have the new $3,599 Bravia KDL-46XBR4. It's spec'd for better black levels, a new, slick on-screen menu system, and 120Hz operation, a feature that can reduce image smear with moving images, which is one of the lingering problems of LCD display technology.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 30, 2007 0 comments

Last year when I reviewed the 1080p <A HREF="http://ultimateavmag.com/flatpaneldisplays/806sonykdl46/">Sony Bravia KDL-46XBR2</A>, I concluded that it "really knocked me out." Now we have the new Bravia KDL-46XBR4. It's similar in many respects to the 46XBR2, but offers significant improvements. These include better black levels, a new, slick on-screen menu system, and 120Hz operation&mdash;a feature that's showing up in more and more high-end LCD sets. Depending on its implementation, a 120Hz refresh rate can reduce image smear with moving images&mdash;one of the lingering problems of LCD display technology.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 23, 2007 0 comments

Kuro is Japanese for deep, black, and penetrating, and Pioneer's new plasma sets take that word to heart. The company's Project KURO has spawned eight new models ranging in size from 42" to 60" and priced between $2,700 and $7,500. Four of the sets are Elite models and four are in the standard Pioneer line. Four of the designs are 1365x768 (Pioneer refers to them as XGA) and the others are full 1080p sets (1920x1080).

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 06, 2007 Published: Sep 07, 2007 3 comments

We reported on Sony's new VPL-VW60 ($5000) and VPL-VW200 ($15,000) 1080p projectors at Sony's press conference yesterday, but I got to actually see them today. They were exceptional. Both claim dramatically enhanced chip-level contrast relative to prior SXRD projectors, and from the visible evidence this appeared to be the case.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 03, 2007 0 comments

I'm not exactly sure what a sugarplum is—probably a Christmas treat in Victorian England. But I do know that for those of us in the AV game, it comes early every year. September is time for the CEDIA Expo, to be held this year in Denver.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Sep 02, 2007 0 comments

In many respects, AV receivers haven't changed much in recent years. There have been no major breakthroughs in amplifier design. 7.1-channels aren't that new. Multichannel analog inputs have been a fixture for some time. Dolby Digital and DTS have been with us since the Jurassic Age&mdash;or at least since <I>Jurassic Park</I>. And FM and AM sections are about as exciting as <I>Halloween 14</I>.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Aug 27, 2007 0 comments
Everyone, it seems, wants a flat panel television these days. Not to hang on the wall mind you—studies show that most buyers use them on a stand—but because they're, well, cool.

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